“She stole my heart, and all I got was this RIDICULOUS HAT!”
If last week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Girls,” who define themselves by their relationships with men, then this week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Men” (some more beautiful than others) who lean on women, and need them for personal validation.
You GO girls!
Oh, and I almost forgot. This was also the episode where all the main characters’ lives went down the toilet.
Let’s bring on the carnage. Shall we?
Meet the Parents
For those of you who have seen the film Meet the Parents, Lane Pryce’s dad, makes Jack Byrne (the Robert DeNiro character) . . .
. . . look like Mickey Mouse.
Speaking of Mickey Mouse, poor Lane had just purchased a stuffed version of America’s favorite cartoon character, as a present for his son, who was set to visit the U.S. that weekend.
But then he learned that his son wasn’t coming.
In his son’s place was Darth Vader his father . . .
. . . who had flown across the pond, to take Lane home, so that he could ”fix his marriage.” Never mind the fact that Lane’s shrew of a wife . . .
. . . LEFT HIM, not the other way around! Taking his disappointment over his son’s failure to visit in stride, Lane commandeers his only best friend from work, Don, to come to dinner with him and his father. Wanting to impress his dad, Lane arranges for the group to have dinner at the classiest restaurant in New York City . . .
Unfortunately, Hooters is closed. So, Lane settles on the next best thing . . .
Apparently, Lane is a VERY GOOD customer at THIS restaurant. They’ve even given him a V.I.P. pass. (I guess that’s what happens when you are, in the words of Don’s lawyer, “schtupping the help.”)
When Lane introduces his father to Toni, one of the waitresses at the club, Mr. Freeze the old bugger is mildly polite, but clearly unimpressed. Later, based on a conversation between Lane and Toni, we learn that the pair are actually in love. Toni refers to Lane as “dashing.” He refers to her as his “Chocolate Bunny” — a nickname that I would find mildly offensive, but Toni didn’t seem to mind.
Lane plans to tell his father the “good news,” before the latter returns to Great Britain.
The following night, Lane invites both Toni and his father to his apartment, and makes the appropriate introductions. An awkward moment arises, when Lane invites the two to dinner, and his father declines. Toni then quietly excuses herself, leaving Lane alone with Lord Voldemort his father. Papa Pryce congratulates Lane on falling in love again, by giving him a friendly pat on the head . . . which would be nice . . . if he wasn’t using his own rather large wooden cane to do the patting . . .
Next thing we know, Lane is ON THE FLOOR, WRITHING IN PAIN!
And when he tries to get up, Lane’s father STEPS ON HIS HAND!
“Put your home in order, either here or there. You cannot live in between,” seethes Lex Luthor Lane’s father, as he stalks out of the apartment building, slamming the door behind him.
Dr. Evil is impressed.
At the conclusion of the episode, an emotionally and literally, beaten down, Lane informs the rest of the partners at SCDP that he is taking a leave of absence for a month. He then stalks out, before his colleagues have a chance to protest.
A Bun-ny in the Oven
If I’ve learned anything from watching television dramas, it’s that women ONLY get pregnant when they DON’T WANT TO BE. Nevermind that Joan and Greg have been screwing like bunnies for months, prior to his deployment – trying to make babies together, to no avail. All it takes is one post-mugging shag, up against a dirty piss - covered wall in a dark alley, for Roger’s Super Sperm to fertilize Joan’s curvaceous egg.
SCORE! Take THAT Dr. McRapey!
Ever the gentleman, upon hearing the news, Roger replies with a host of sweet and wonderful words that every woman in this situation wants to hear.
Here are a few of Roger’s most sincere offers of support and encouragement (Forgive me, if I have to paraphrase a few of them.):
“Are you sure it’s mine?”
“These things happen.”
“Maybe, I’m in love with you?”
“Oh no, I don’t want to raise it!”
“Hey, soldiers knock up their ladies all the time when they are on military leave. Maybe no one will notice”
“Greg might DIE in Vietnam, anyway.”
“At least let me drive you there [to the abortion clinic].”
Roger Sterling – The Don Juan of Madison Avenue
Words of wisdom aside, the Gallant Roger does have enough sense to accompany Joan to HIS doctor. (She can’t go to HER gyno, because HE has already given her other abortions and he’s a pervy asshole.)
“AGAIN, Town Strumpet?”
Like a disappointed parent, Roger’s doctor gives him a verbal smackdown for being so “irresponsible.” (Imagine what this guy would say, if he found out the unwanted child was conceived in a dark alley!) However, Doctor McJudgy eventually gets off his high horse, long enough to refer to Joan to a well-reputed abortion clinic.
At the abortion clinic, Joan encounters a rather young-looking mother, and her disturbingly young-looking child.
Is that really what 17-year old girls looked like in the mid-60′s? Because, to me, the girl in this picture looks like she’d be more at home at a Justin Bieber concert, than at her senior prom.
When the child is called inside, her mother breaks down in tears, admitting to Joan that she herself was a mother at just 15, and doesn’t regret it. And yet, it is still very hard to watch her daughter suffer through this at such a young age. Ever the picture of poise and decorum, Joan offers words of support to the young mother — commenting on her daughter’s beauty, and telling her that everything will be all right. The young mother (who is probably fairly close to Joan’s age) feels such a kinship with the SCDP office manager, that she asks Joan how old HER DAUGHTER is . . .
Ummmm . . .
Without missing a beat, Joan replies, “15.”
The next day, Joan tells Roger that “everything is fine.” “We have avoided tragedy” and “life goes on.”
So, of course, we are to assume that Joan’s had the abortion. But has she, really?
Unfortunately for Roger, a prospective bastard bun in Joan’s oven is the LEAST of his problems. At a dinner meeting with Lucky Strike Scion and MAJOR DICKWAD, Lee Garner, Jr., Roger hears news that, at BEST will make him completely insignificant to SCDP, and at WORST will bankrupt the ENTIRE company. Lee informs Roger that Lucky Strike, which, last we heard, accounts for over 50% of SCDP’s business, and is Roger’s ONLY major contribution to the company, is pulling out and pursuing greener pastures.
“We’re dead. You know that,” Roger explains morosely.
Roger begs Lee to reconsider, calling upon the D-bag’s supposed “loyalty” to the firm, after 30 years of representation. But Lee is unmoved. “It’s over,” he tells Roger repeatedly.
Roger loses his cool, banging the table with his fist, and knocking glasses over in his wake. Once he sees that this is a lost cause, Roger ultimately gets Lee to agree to postpone going public with the move for 30 days. Roger hopes this will give the company time to “get its affairs in order.” And, maybe, Roger can snag a few new clients, before he has to break the news to the rest of the firm.
Later, we see Roger on the phone with old friends, calling in favors, and hoping something will pan out. The problem is, Roger isn’t getting any younger, and a lot of his old advertising contacts are now six-feet under.
Roger’s Social Network
At the end of the episode, at a partner’s meeting, Joan asks Roger to provide an update as to the status of Lucky Strike. In response, he laughs bitterly, and gives the thumbs up sign.
In the words of Don Draper, Roger’s totally “TOASTED.”
Don on the Run
All things considered, Don starts off this episode doing quite well. He has formed what appears to be a healthy relationship with Faye . . .
He’s cut down on his drinking. And he’s taking some significant steps toward being a better father to his children. Don even gets an approving smile from the eternally ”Nordic” Betty, when he calls the Francis home, to inform Sally that he has scored her tickets to the Beatles Concert at Shea Stadium.
Instantly forgetting all of her daddy-fueled angst and abandonment issues of the past week, Sally squeals with joy. It is touching, but loud and extremely annoying, at the same time. No wonder Don wants to wear earplugs at the concert!
Welcome to the world of fangirling, Sally. You are officially one of US now!
At the office, Don and the rest of the partners meet with North American Aviation, who inform SCDP that it is getting into military defense. As a result, the airline will be increasing its advertising budget to $4 million.
The problem, of course, is that, while the aviation company wants SCDP to create an advertising campaign that mentions its defense efforts, it WON’T allow SCDP to view anything about what those efforts actually entail, because all of that information is government classified.
In the next scene, federal agents accost Betty in her home, and interrogate her about her ex- husband, who they claim has applied for security clearance with the Department of Defense.
“So, Don is a Top Ad Exec AND a federal agent? I smell increased alimony payments!”
Most notably, the Feds ask Betty, if she has “any reason to believe that Don isn’t who he says he is?”
After almost an hour of relentless interrogation, a stricken Betty calls Don at the office, to tell him what has occurred.
Don, who had no recollection whatsoever of applying for any sort of security clearance, immediately takes on the visage of a horror movie victim — specifically, those kids who get calls from the Ghostface Killer in the Scream movies.
“Do you like scary court martials?”
Immediately, Don wonders whether Betty sold him out the G-men. “I didn’t tell them anything,” insists Betty curtly, expressing a fear that her phone is now being tapped.
Recognizing the danger of talking to his ex-wife on a public phone line, under the circumstances, Don quickly thanks Betty, and hangs up the phone. He then asks his new secretary Megan what the HECK is going on . . .
Poor Megan! She was just trying to help! Pete had sent over the clearance application papers from the Department of Defense. The papers requested some personal information, such as the party requesting clearance’s name, birthdate, social security number, etc. Taking initiative, Megan completed the form, using Don’s employment records, and gave the form to Don, so that he could sign it (but not READ it, of course, because “Reading is Hard.”). Upon receiving his signature on the document, Megan then immediately shipped it out to the Department of Defense, without Don even knowing what it was he signed.
I bet Don is missing Miss Blankenship a WHOLE BUNCH right now!
Miss Blankenship would NEVER have completed forms for Don, without getting his approval first . . . because that would involve her actually DOING WORK. (R.I.P. Miss B!)
Megan is extremely apologetic. But apologies aren’t going to bring back those forms, which include a host of fake information about “Don Draper.”
Next, Don confronts Pete, who, as we know, is VERY aware of Don’s “mistaken identity” (He had even blackmailed the poor guy about it, a few seasons back.) Initially, Pete balks at Don’s discomfort, believing that Don brought all this on himself. But Don levels with Pete, telling him this could cause the agency, MAJOR problems, if the information was leaked. Pete agrees to speak to his friend at the Department of Defense, to find out what information they have on Dick Whitman Don Draper.
Later in the elevator (where all the BEST Mad Men meetings take place), Don tells Pete to drop the North American Aviation account, and Pete basically tells him to, “Go f*ck himself.”
“I don’t have to live with this sh*t over my head,” he remarks angrily.
Pete then reminds Don that, while he was gallivanting around L.A., Pete nailed down this account, and brought it from “just cocktails” to $4 million in advertising revenue.
I gotta say, Don . . . the Little Weiner has a point . . .
That night, Pete, looking absolutely ADORABLE in his Big Kid Footie Pajamas, cuddles on the couch with his VERY pregnant wife, Trudie, who’s nighty, though stylish, admittedly does very odd things to her third trimester figure. So much so, that when I saw her, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this . . .
Seriously, who dresses these two? Willy Wonka?
“Those Campbells look good enough to eat!”
“How is it that some people just walk through life, dragging their lies with them destroying everything they touch? No one knows except the honest people, who have to pick up the pieces,” whines Pete to Trudy, as he mulls over the firestorm that Don’s secret will undoubtedly cause for the firm, and him, personally.
(Now, Pete. You know that I love you, dearly. And I have many wonderful words to describe you. Unfortunately, “honest” is not one of them, Mr. Blackmailing Adulterer.)
Trudie begs Pete to unburden himself to her, regarding what is causing him so much stress, but he stays mum on the subject. Across town, Betty is also keeping Don’s secret from new hubby, Henry Francis . . .
. . . who can’t understand, for the life of him, why anyone would be anything other than overjoyed to be interrogated at length by FBI agents. (It’s so much FUN!)
Back at the office, a frantic Don calls his lawyer, and asks that a trust be set up in his children’s name immediately. This way, they will be taken care of ”should anything happen to him.” Don’s lawyer doesn’t like the idea of Don “running scared.” And yet, the attorney seems more concerned about whether Don is “New Secretary, Megan.”
(It’s always good to have those priorities in order!)
By the time Faye visits Don in his office, he looks genuinely ill.
And, for a woman who claims not to be maternal, Faye sure takes on the Mommy role here! She first feels Don’s head for a fever. She then immediately takes him back to his apartment for a nap and diaper change. In the hallway of Don’s apartment, two men dressed like Feds inquire as to the address of Don’s neighbors. Don’s hands begin to shake, as he dashes into the house and rips off his shirt. “I think I am having a heart attack,” Don wheezes.
Once Faye has assured Don that he is not, in fact, suffering from a heart attack (only a panic attack), the Dapper Draper responds by, yakking in the sink.
And that, my friends, would be “Barf in Front of a Lady” #2 for Don this Season . . .
One more of those, and he will win a free bottle of toilet bowl cleaner from Hurlers R’ Us!
Faye then takes an exhausted Don to bed . . .
There, to absolutely EVERYBODY’S surprise, Don, claiming that he is “tired of running,” confesses to Faye his whole sordid Dick Whitman tale. And, you’ve really gotta hand it to Faye, because she seems totally cool with it. “I’m glad you told me,” she says softly, before cuddling up with him in bed.
The pair are startled the next morning by a knock at the door. It’s Pete.
“Well, good morning, colleagues that are obviously screwing one another! Would you care for a jelly donut?”
After a humiliated Faye skulks out the apartment, Pete informs Don that his name HAS been flagged by the government. However, if SCDP drops North American Aviation as a client, all investigations into the firm’s personal files will be dropped. Don tells Pete that they are going to have to drop the account, and the latter storms out in a huff.
The next morning, during a partner’s meeting, a remarkably noble Pete takes FULL responsibility for losing the North American Aviation account, claiming it is the result of his having insulted one of the chairmen, by leaving his name off a document. Knowing that without Lucky Strike AND North American Aviation SCDP is TOASTED, Self-Righteous Hypocrite Roger reams Pete a new one, for not being more politically correct, when dealing with his clients . . .
Well isn’t THIS the pot calling kettle, Blackface.
Don makes a half-hearted attempt to stick up for Pete, but doesn’t do nearly enough to help the guy who has totally taken a fall for him, in my opinion.
Superman, he AIN’T!
As if to further prove his douchebag tendencies, the end of the episode finds Don avoiding the loyal and faithful Faye . . .
. . . in favor of ogling the sweet and slightly naive, Megan.
That final shot of Don admiring his secretary’s “fine form” reminded me quite a bit, of the way he leered at Sally Draper’s teacher, last season.
And we all know how THAT turned out . . .
Poor Faye! She thought that having Don confide in her would bring their romantic relationship to a new level of intimacy. But Don has never wanted his lovers to KNOW the REAL him. He’d much prefer that Dick Whitman stay dead and buried, FOREVER.
Faye doesn’t know it, but she may have just become the new Anna Draper. Could Megan be the next Betty?